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message 1: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
If you could take any form of government from a fictional work you've read, and make it the one you lived under, which would you choose?


message 2: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 2610 comments For sure- Plato’s Republic from Jo Walton’s The Just City. It’s not perfect, but they are constantly striving for excellence!


message 3: by Udayan (new)

Udayan | 62 comments Infomocracy !!!


message 4: by Trike (new)

Trike I kind of like the government and economy in Voyage from Yesteryear, which is based on respect, but it is entirely unworkable given human nature.

It’s a post-scarcity world where you can just have whatever you want, and people ascend to positions of influence based on their skills. Which sounds awesome, but people are often awful and broken, so I see it as imaginary.


message 5: by Donald (new)

Donald | 240 comments It's hard to go past the Culture.


message 6: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2285 comments Thank you Trike for explaining. Not all of us are as well read as the rest of you, and I have no idea just what Donald, Udayan, and Sarah are rooting for. More please?


message 7: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 2610 comments Plato’s Republic (from what I gathered while reading) is a pure democracy, where everyone who wants a vote gets a vote. Big issues are sent to debate and then voted on afterwards. People take aptitude tests and test into different categories, bronze, silver, iron, gold. The golds study philosophy and the arts and become educators. The other metals work fields, raise children, etc.

I know it sounds terrible as a caste system, but in the book it’s presented as people testing in the categories they want to be working in. The idea is that everyone’s job is equally important and people all share the food. No one gets nicer housing or anything like that (they share rooms and share chores). There is no money. Women have equal opportunities to men.

The whole goal of living here is to become your best self in the arts, philosophy, mathematics, athletics, etc.

The only crappy thing is the festivals of Hera, where couples are randomly matched and are married for one day to produce children. If a child is born they are taken from the mothers instantly so that the child is raised by the city collectively, favorites are not played and no children are treated differently from the others.

(view spoiler)

It’s definitely not perfect and there are characters in the book that disagree and are disgruntled, but I thought it was pretty great.


message 8: by David (new)

David | 6 comments Idiocracy. Joe scores high on a IQ test and is promptly made Secretary of the Interior. He takes some competent decisions and becomes Vice President.

I support smart and competent people in government. :-)


message 9: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2285 comments Ty Sarah, that sounds really interesting. I'll have to consider reading the book to see how it's developed. And considering how many ppl today are stuck in jobs they don't like, or not even working, getting some stronger guidance does seem like it could help.


message 10: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 2610 comments I hope you get a chance to check it out Cheryl! There are three books in the series and it was interesting to see how the government developed over the course of the books.


message 11: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 404 comments Sarah wrote: "Plato’s Republic (from what I gathered while reading) is a pure democracy, where everyone who wants a vote gets a vote. Big issues are sent to debate and then voted on afterwards. People take aptit..."

Nope, not a utopia for me at all. I'm on team Socrates. I would have been a dissenter there myself.


message 12: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 2610 comments Shomeret wrote: "Sarah wrote: "Plato’s Republic (from what I gathered while reading) is a pure democracy, where everyone who wants a vote gets a vote. Big issues are sent to debate and then voted on afterwards. Peo..."

I don't think it's a utopia by any means. I just think it's better than what I've got now.. lol. Though I don't think it would ever work on a national scale. I like the pure democracy, options for debating, being able to have your voice heard, and a system based on ability rather than means, race, sexuality, gender, etc..

Did you read the other two books? (view spoiler)


message 13: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
I wish the Anarresti "government" worked on a large scale without the motivator of scarcity. We'd have to think about it more thoughtfully so that the bureaucracy didn't creep in, like in The Dispossessed. Rebelling in thought and passion, but conforming a portion of the day or week to make things work and to live as a social creature seems like it would be a good mix for such irrational beings as us. Unfortunately, we're excellent at breaking well-meaning systems for personal gain.


message 14: by Don (new)

Don Dunham A Democratic Republic with virtuous Representatives and an informed Citizenry.


message 15: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1436 comments Don wrote: "A Democratic Republic with virtuous Representatives and an informed Citizenry."

[cynical] I.e., an impossibility. [/cynical]

];P


message 16: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 411 comments Micah wrote: "Don wrote: "A Democratic Republic with virtuous Representatives and an informed Citizenry."

[cynical] I.e., an impossibility. [/cynical]

];P"


That's why it counts as "fictional." :)


message 17: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1436 comments Cheryl wrote: "Not all of us are as well read as the rest of you, and I have no idea just what Donald...are rooting for. More please?"

Donald's comment is referring to The Culture novels by Iain M. Banks (RIP).

[A lot of the following is taken and edited from the Wikipedia page on The Culture, which has a very in depth description of all it entails]:

The Culture is a fictional interstellar post-scarcity civilization that resembles or is organized similarly to a communistic or anarcho-communistic society.

The Culture is composed primarily of sentient beings of the pan-human variety, artificially intelligent sentient machines, and a small number of other sentient "alien" life forms. Machine intelligences range from human-equivalent drones to hyper-intelligent Minds. The Culture's economy is maintained automatically by its non-sentient machines, with high-level work entrusted to the Minds' subroutines, which allows its humanoid and drone citizens to indulge their passions, romances, hobbies, or other activities, without servitude.

Philosophically, the Culture is all about peace and individual freedom. The Culture tends to make major decisions based on the consensus formed by its Minds and, if appropriate, its citizens (sometimes calling for the vote of trillions—the entire population—of individuals before making choices like going to war). But the Culture also maintains a diplomatic corps (called Contact) to interact with external non-Culture societies, which often have very different/opposing ideologies and forms of government. On the darker side, the Culture also uses an elite subset of Contact (called Special Circumstances) for covert, subversive, proactive/preemptive interaction with other civilizations whose ideologies, morals, and technologies pose a perceived threat to the Culture or its foreign policy initiatives.

The Culture, though, does not simply refer to a government. It is an all-inclusive term for their entire society, its philosophy, technologies, peoples (intelligences biological and synthetic), and its whole way of life.


message 18: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2285 comments Ty Micah.


message 19: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 2526 comments Society of the Cousins from The Moon and the Other


message 20: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 2610 comments Silvana wrote: "Society of the Cousins from The Moon and the Other"

Forgot about that one! I'd love to try that on for size.


message 21: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
What's that one like?


message 22: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Fry | 46 comments I’m unsure if I would enjoy being a citizen of the Terran Federation in Starship troopers because in my current state I would not have the ability to vote as I have not served a “tour” in the military which at the end of the tour gives a citizen a franchise and allows them to run for office and have a vote.

But I found their system of government fascinating.

“Under our system every voter and officeholder is a man who has demonstrated through difficult service the he places the welfare of the group ahead of personal advantage” - Ch. 12 pg. 223

The idea that someone who has volunteered with the their life and freedom to protect the whole of humanity and only if that person has honorably been discharged or has retired can they the participate in politics. This also means that the society is ruled by a minority but unlike a typical oligarchy has already proven their devotion to the majority.


message 23: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 2610 comments @Allison- it’s like a less violent, less oppressive form of New Amazon from Elizabeth Bear’s Carnival...

Silvana can explain it better I’m sure. Lol


message 24: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 351 comments Donald wrote: "It's hard to go past the Culture."

Yeah, got to agree with that.


message 25: by Trike (new)

Trike Ryan wrote: "I’m unsure if I would enjoy being a citizen of the Terran Federation in Starship troopers because in my current state I would not have the ability to vote as I have not served a “tour” in the milit..."

I don’t think you have to be a combat soldier to serve, though. I don’t recall if it’s all military or if just government work will qualify. Heinlein chose soldiers because Starship Accountants is probably less dramatic.


message 26: by Anna, Circadian heretic (new)

Anna (vegfic) | 9629 comments Mod
Trike wrote: "Starship Accountants"

Going straight to my TBR!


message 27: by Trike (new)

Trike Sarah wrote: "@Allison- it’s like a less violent, less oppressive form of New Amazon from Elizabeth Bear’s Carnival..."

Oh, well, that clears it up.

“It’s a frizzormort with a built-in kypherloop!”
“What’s that?”
“Pretty much like a quasidrix except the size of a morgolaap. The second generation, of course.”


message 28: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
Trike wrote: "Sarah wrote: "@Allison- it’s like a less violent, less oppressive form of New Amazon from Elizabeth Bear’s Carnival..."

Oh, well, that clears it up.

“It’s a frizzormort with a built-in kypherloop..."


lolol

I got the reference, having read Carnival, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how it could be less violent and oppressive but similar to New Amazonia. Equal opportunity gladiator matches for mating rights? Maybe debate instead of weapons?


message 29: by Trike (new)

Trike Allison wrote: "I got the reference, having read Carnival, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how it could be less violent and oppressive but similar to New Amazonia. Equal opportunity gladiator matches for mating rights? Maybe debate instead of weapons?"

No actual combat, but really vicious gossiping. Basically the Real Housewives in Spaaace.


message 30: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 2610 comments Trike wrote: "Sarah wrote: "@Allison- it’s like a less violent, less oppressive form of New Amazon from Elizabeth Bear’s Carnival..."

Oh, well, that clears it up.

“It’s a frizzormort with a built-in kypherloop..."


lol- sorry Trike. I knew Allison had read that book. It was one of the selections for Inclusive Book Bingo. I can't think of a way to put it without sounding like a total jerk (and also I think I'm going to explain it all wrong).

In the Society of Cousins women hold most of the power. They run the government, make the laws, have the vote, etc. Men are not allowed to live on their own or exist outside the supervision of women. They are cared for and treated very well, they aren't slaves, and they can gain the right to vote if they agree to also do something else (I can't remember what it is at the moment).

I think you'd have to read the book to get the full gist of it.


message 31: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
Trike wrote: "Allison wrote: "I got the reference, having read Carnival, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how it could be less violent and oppressive but similar to New Amazonia. Equal opportunity gladiat..."

Haha! That sounds even *more* vicious! Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will scar forever.

OTOH, I'm pretty sure vicious gossiping is already a part of human mating...


message 32: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
Sarah wrote: "Trike wrote: "Sarah wrote: "@Allison- it’s like a less violent, less oppressive form of New Amazon from Elizabeth Bear’s Carnival..."

Oh, well, that clears it up.

“It’s a frizzormort with a built..."


Ohhhh. Interesting!


message 33: by Sarah (last edited Jul 05, 2018 12:07PM) (new)

Sarah | 2610 comments Allison wrote: "Trike wrote: "Sarah wrote: "@Allison- it’s like a less violent, less oppressive form of New Amazon from Elizabeth Bear’s Carnival..."

Oh, well, that clears it up.

“It’s a frizzormort with a built..."


Debate instead of weapons is about right. The idea behind the Society of Cousins was that men are the primary cause of war on earth (this is set on the moon), so they must be closely monitored and supervised to avoid war on the moon. Nobody really owns them, if they don't decide to take a wife and move out they just stay with their mothers. If they are convicted of a crime they are exiled.


message 34: by MrsJoseph *grouchy* (last edited Jul 05, 2018 12:17PM) (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 2207 comments Trike wrote: "Ryan wrote: "I’m unsure if I would enjoy being a citizen of the Terran Federation in Starship troopers because in my current state I would not have the ability to vote as I have not served a “tour”..."

I want to say it was serving in the military and/or the merchant marines? There were a few other options but none of them were safely behind a desk and - IIRC - all of them included risking your skin.


ETA: Just because you can't vote doens't mean you can't own property/businesses, etc. You're just not considered a global citizen.


message 35: by Carlex (new)

Carlex | 2 comments Interestingly, the first thing I thought was two examples of anarchy: The Dispossessed (mentioned above) and the oligarchy/anarchy in The Luna Series, by Ian McDonald, but now I am reading Gnomon by Nick Harkaway, and I have been pleasantly surprised by the government of a protective and benign AI system seen in this novel.


message 36: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 2610 comments Carlex wrote: "Interestingly, the first thing I thought was two examples of anarchy: The Dispossessed (mentioned above) and the oligarchy/anarchy in The Luna Series, by Ian McDonald, but now I am reading Gnomon b..."

oh man Gnomon's government is almost my worst nightmare. The Luna series government is pretty cool. I love the "contracts are law" idea.


message 37: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
Sarah wrote: I love the "contracts are law" idea."

*ears perk up*

Contracts as law, you say...I really must read this book.

And yeah! Rational anarchy ftw, Carlex! Now we just gotta get rid of everyone who doesn't think like us. *narrows eyes at the lot of you*


message 38: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Fry | 46 comments @Trike Yes I agree space accountants wouldn’t be interesting but I’m sure they would still have to drop so I don’t know maybe Accountant by day Warrior by night would be interesting.

But yes the non-combat veterans that retire or honorably discharged do also get to vote.


message 39: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Fry | 46 comments @Carlex I’m not sure if merchant marines do get franchises as they were only briefly mentioned and there were obvious tensions between the MI and merchant marines in a bar scene.

Yes you basically can do anything as a non-franchised citizen you just can’t vote or run for office from what I understand.


message 40: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1323 comments Can’t remember if anyone had thrown in the Titular society in Walkaway - that one is very interesting and maybe also qualifies as a rational anarchy


message 41: by Carlex (new)

Carlex | 2 comments I agree, it's a nightmare, Black Mirror style, but it's incredibly described. Will we see it someday?


message 42: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2285 comments Then there's Sheri S. Tepper's The Gate to Women's Country:

The world "offers only two political alternatives: a repressive polygamist sect that is slowly self-destructing through inbreeding and the matriarchal dictatorship called Women's Country. Here, in a desperate effort to prevent another world war, the women have segregated most men into closed military garrisons and have taken on themselves every other function of government, industry, agriculture, science and learning."

The polygamist sect is nightmare. But the matriarchy seemed to be functioning better than many other systems possible.

(I need to reread it....)


message 43: by Donald (new)

Donald | 240 comments Cheryl wrote: "Thank you Trike for explaining. Not all of us are as well read as the rest of you, and I have no idea just what Donald, Udayan, and Sarah are rooting for. More please?"

Micah provided a more complete answer, but basically it's a post-scarcity utopia. I love the idea of doing whatever I choose, without being constrained by scarcity in its many forms or cultural restrictions. (I'm aware that's I've over-simplified and applied a broad brush, as IIRC there are still strong and appropriate restrictions around requiring consent when interacting with others.)

Interestingly the books barely touch on what it's like to like within the Culture full time, as Banks recognizes that (and commented on) conflict being the heart of most good stories. As a result he largely focuses on the "departments" focused on interacting with civilizations outside of the Culture - Contact (roughly a diplomatic core) and Special Circumstances (MI6/CIA, though more well-regarded).


message 44: by Udayan (new)

Udayan | 62 comments This is sort of a primer on "Infomocracy" (novel by Malka Older) -

"Set a short distance into the future, Infomocracy portrays a world governed by microdemocracies. Countries have been replaced by districts (called centenals) of 100,000 people, and the entire world turns out to vote once a decade for their local government. The political party elected to the most centenals becomes the Supermajority, setting policy and direction for the world at large. Needless to say, the stakes are high as a new election approaches.

To oversee the logistics of this worldwide event is an outfit called Information, a sort of non-partisan social media service which provides information about the political parties and current events. Think of it a sort of merger between Google, BBC, and Facebook."


message 45: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2285 comments Infomocracy, on the face of it, sounds terrible, to me. Too much consolidation of power, too few 'checks & balances.' I might just have to read the book to figure out the appeal.


message 46: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1323 comments On the surface - Infomacracy would be a great place for the average joe. You get to be in a government that is exactly what you like - there’s one for every type of person. The trade off is all the data collection but since everyone using this app or a kindle or anything online I’d already doing this the benefits far outweigh the costs (for the average person).


message 47: by Marc-André (new)

Marc-André The Phyles in Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer are pretty interesting even if they are inspired by Libertarian ideology. The idea of people choosing their affiliation based on interests and compatibility rather than having their identity determined by their ethnicity or the land on which they were born is quite utopic. They immerged after governments feel because people and corporations used cryptocurrency to avoid paying taxes.

Ada Palmer uses the same principale of individuals choosing their Hive in Too Like the Lightning.

Interestingly enough, both have sort of world goverments or agencies that make sure laws and treaties between Phyles, Hives and their respectful aderants are observed. They both do not go into much details about these world governments,

I wonder where the idea of people chosing their government comes from.

One form of goverment I would avoid is the Burbclaves of Stephenson's Snow Crash. Those are essentially gated territories owned by private corporations or the mob. They are city-states inside failling states.


message 48: by Donald (new)

Donald | 240 comments Marc-André wrote: "Ada Palmer uses the same principale of individuals choosing their Hive in Too Like the Lightning."

TLTL was one of the first to come to mind before I managed to dig up the one that I was actually thinking of earlier. A strong degree of personal freedom, though ultimately they all seem to answer to one of the overarching groups.


message 49: by Michael (new)

Michael | 153 comments Sarah wrote: "Plato’s Republic (from what I gathered while reading) is a pure democracy, where everyone who wants a vote gets a vote. Big issues are sent to debate and then voted on afterwards. People take aptit..."

Huh. From your description it sounds like a lot of aspects of that society are terrible, but maybe I would understand the appeal more if I read the book?

There was a military scif book written by Michael Z. Williamson called Freehold that portrayed a break away colony world that had a rather Libertarian society with lots of personal freedom and no big government. It sounded appealing in a lot of ways, but I'm not sure it would really work.


message 50: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 2610 comments @michael- it definitely depends on your own political views. I personally like the idea of communal responsibility- no one being “above” anyone else and no one’s job being more important than the others.

But I can understand the opposite view too- what happens if you test into something you don’t like? What if not everyone carries their weight?

And it definitely isn’t a government that could work on a national level... because then it turns into communism.

It may also be that I’m just absorbing the viewpoints of the characters, who looked upon it quite favorably.

If you get a chance to read it I’d love to hear your (or anyone’s) thoughts.


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